Watching your baby grow into a toddler and later into a young child can be fulfilling and overwhelming. The significant developmental changes experienced in early childhood need to be supported and cushioned by quality education from early on. Research has found that early education can have a considerable impact on both secondary and university academic performances.
However, rushing a child who isn't quite ready into the swirl of unfamiliar faces, unknown rules, and performance expectations can be damaging in the long run. If you're thinking of enlisting your child in kindergarten, it is important to weigh timing standards against an assessment of your child's readiness. Here's everything you should know to make the most beneficial decision.
You Shouldn't Worry Too Much About The Rules
The standard age for Australian children to join kindergarten is 4. In most Australian states, children will be required by law to be at least 5 years of age by June 30th of their enrolment year. According to research conducted by the University of NSW, children who begin kindergarten at an older age have been found to perform better socially and academically than younger children.
Data suggests that the ages of 4 to 6 are so laden with developmental changes that every passing month matters in contribution to a child's maturity, comfort in public settings, and ability to comply with strict schedules and academic rules. Therefore, despite the current trend of rushing children into school early to offer them the opportunity of rapid school completion, the older your child is, the more comfortable they will be eased into kindergarten.
Pre-school Teachers Know Best
According to early childhood experts, pre-school teachers are best equipped and trained to establish a child's school readiness. Less thought should be applied to your child's abilities (reading, writing, colouring, etc.), and more attention should be paid to their behaviour and levels of attachment to their parents and home environments.
Your child will need the ability to confront and enjoy new challenges, as opposed to simply coping with them. You will need to consult the kindergarten you have chosen to set up a professional evaluation. This evaluation will ascertain your child's ability to communicate with the teacher (up until then, a stranger), display interest in learning and curiosity for their new environment.
A Concluding Word
There is little evidence suggesting that a late kindergarten start can hinder a child's academic performance for the rest of their lives. On the contrary, delaying kindergarten entry when you or your vetted education or childcare professional deems it necessary may protect them from possible developmental trauma.
Reach out to a kindergarten program to get more advice on sending your child to kindergarten.